How to Build a Retaining Wall

Building or Intalling a Retaing Wall

Retaining Wall Use

Retaining walls are used for both commercial and residential purposes. They have gained popularity in a short period of time, becoming commonly used for landscaping projects around the home and for commercial landscapes also.

garden retaining wall
This rise in popularity is mainly due to the advances in available designs, colors, shapes and sizes. Also, retaining walls can be self-installed, making them very cost efficient. Installation can be as simple as stacking blocks together!

Retaining walls are found around the home garden, to highlight flower beds, patios or features. Not only do they add aesthetic appeal to your landscaping, they can also have a functional application. Retaining walls can make use of sloping or steep land and help with storm water management and drainage.

Retaining Walls Materials

Retaining walls can be made out of many building materials; it really does depend on the individual. There are wooden retaining walls, made using; plywood, planks and posts.

concrete retaining wall block

Retaining wall block systems are also a very popular choice, due to their easy installation feature. The blocks are made from cement and aggregate lightweight materials.

They are simply blocks with angled sides, flat top and bottoms, and round faces. This is your traditional block, you can also purchase hollow blocks, straight sided blocks and thin-caped blocks.


Some points to consider when planning your retaining wall installation:

  • Walls over 4 foot, should use geo-grid fabric
  • Use filter fabric over wet or dry soil, then cover with gravel
  • Ensure good drainage with the use of backfill, drain piping, filter fabric or weep holes.
  • Always compact between each layer of installation
  • For stability, slant wall a little towards backfill

Installing Retaining Walls

We will discuss an easy, do-it-yourself guide to installing a retaining wall in your garden, using a block system.

The following 8-steps will be outlined:

  1. Tools and Equipment
  2. Retaining Wall Plan and Layout
  3. Excavation
  4. Base Material
  5. Compact
  6. Lay the First Row
  7. Backfill
  8. Retaing Wall Capping